5 ways to pamper yourself

Stress. We all have it and hate it but it’s inevitable in life.

So how can we cope with stress, especially in the cheapest way possible that doesn’t require a week vaca or spa day? Here are my go-to stress relievers:

  1. Candlelit bath: my absolute go-to lately is run a hot bath with Deep Steep Lavender & Chamomile Bubble Bath, light some candles, and make a cup of tea. Deep Steep is a fantastic product. It’s made with Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Shea Butter, and Organic Jojoba Oil. The smell of it is also amazing.
    I even throw in some Epsom Salts. They are great to relieve muscle tensions, pain, and inflammation in joints, also relieves headaches.

image image

2. Put on a mud mask: to add to your relaxing “me time” in your bubble bath, slap on some Dead Sea Mud Mask or any mask for that matter. Whatever your heart desires. Dead Sea Mud Mask is pretty awesome because it’s all natural and cheap! You can purchase an 8.8 fl. Oz by Pure Body Naturals for less than $15.00. I personally like clay masks more than peeling off masks but that’s just me.

image

3.  Moisturize and hydrate: I realise that I am well more stressed when I am dehydrated. I get cranky and exhausted and no one likes a negative nancy. I recently found out about sesame seed oil! And man, I’m glad I did. It’s such an amazing moisturizer. A friend of mine is a yogi and she travels a lot so she’s constantly in airplanes. She said what she does to feel replenished is rub sesame seed oil all over before and after the plane rides. The oil traps in moisture and also helps remove toxins. If the smell is overwhelming you can mix it with some almond oil.

Water is obviously the greatest thing ever to replenish your body but if you get a bit bored with just plain water, try aloe water. It’s rich in natural nutrients and fiber and helps soothe and heal the skin.

4. Pick up a book: get off your phone! Turn it off and put it in a drawer in the kitchen. Go back to your bed and pick up a book or magazine. We’re so obsessed with social media and the constant need for acceptance that it actually causes stress. We see other people posting things we wish we could do and we feel like we have failed at life because we haven’t attained that lifestyle. We see people posting constantly about their new bods and it makes us feel like we aren’t good looking. I know that I go through continuous phases where I delete social media apps off my phone so that I’m more mindful and not stuck on what everyone else is doing in the world. Take this time to de-stress. Instead of stalking your ex, read a book and get lost in it. It’ll do wonders for your mind.

image

5. Sleep!: simple one. Get some good z’s!! Everyone who knows me knows I love sleeping. Naptimes are my fav times and my naps are usually comas. After a stressful day or week I would rather take a good nap than binge drink my sorrows. Sleep does the body good and resets your mind. So whatever you are stressed about at the moment, pamper your body by crawling into your comfy pj’s after work and take a tiger snooze. You’ll feel refreshed after. Throw on some zen vibes from the app Calm. It’s an awesome app that helps me unwind and stops my overthinking!

image

10 reasons traveling alone changes you

  1. Independence 

We get to be our true selves. Our spur of the moment decisions to do things or change plans impacts no one but yourself. If you don’t feel like doing something you don’t want to do, you don’t feel obligated. You don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself for once. It’s an awesome feeling.

2. Strength

Traveling solo no doubt makes you a stronger and happier person. You become content with the alone time. You enjoy your own company and have time to watch the world in peace. I did this a lot in NZ and I thank myself every day for taking that step alone. I’m very grateful how strong I’ve become. I don’t need anyone but myself to make me happy.

3. Save money

I think I spend way more money when I am with a friend or in a group setting. It’s almost like I feel inclined to spend it whilst around people. You become more frugal when it is just yourself indulging in food and activities. No peer pressure.

4. Become more outgoing

I am a chatty Cathy now. I find myself being able to talk to anyone about anything. I feel like I bond instantly with people now because traveling alone has taught me how to accept everyone and find a common ground. I am more comfortable. Another great feeling.

5. Become fearless

Along with being outgoing in society, traveling solo helps you become fearless towards new goals. I often have thought how I have wanted to do photography as a career and was always apprehensive on if it would work out. Now I say eff it!! I can do it if I put my mind and hard work into it.

6. Appreciation

Solo travelers appreciate their relationships with their family, old friends, new friends, and nature. Traveling alone you spend a lot of time embracing the surroundings while deep in thought.

7. Intuition is sharper

Solo travellers learn to go with their gut feeling more often. And this has saved me from some potentially bad moments.

8. Smarter

Solo travellers become street smart and have a better knowledge of how to navigate new places. • This isn’t necessarily true for me because I still can get lost in a simple hostel.

9. Grow mentally

Solo travellers become more aware of other people’s opinions and feelings. You learn to respect different cultures and learn a lot about the world around you.

10. Fewer regrets

Solo travellers learn from their mistakes and learn to not dwell on them. They have few regrets because they see every mistake or failure as a life lesson and a great memory.

I’ll leave you all with my favourite quote ever from the book Into the Wild.

“The sea’s only gifts are harsh blows, and occasionally the chance to feel strong. Now I don’t know much about the sea, but I do know that that’s the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head.”

If you want to travel alone, do it. You won’t regret it one bit. Simple.

Green smoothie cleanse

  
Everyone who knows me, knows that I love green smoothies, especially kale smoothies. Most people cringe their noses over kale but I think it’s delicious if you mix it right. On its own, it has a really bitter taste but it possesses culinary flexibility. Kale is a highly nutritious leafy green and a great source of calcium. It keeps your brain super healthy!!

Here is my go to kale smoothie:

  • 4 kale leaves (if they’re small, go for 6. more the merrier)
  • cup of spinach leaves
  • tablespoon of almond butter
  • tablespoon of Greek yoghurt
  • cup of almond milk
  • cup of coconut milk
  • teaspoon of cinnamon
  • teaspoon of greens powder (don’t have to but I like the added nutrients it provides)
  • half cup of mango
  • 1/3 cup of raspberries
  • 1/3 cup of strawberries
  • 1 whole banana
  • cup of ice
  • tablespoon of chia seeds
  • teaspoon of flax seeds

Blend it up and you have a killer smoothie.

Looks like a lot but it’s insanely delicious and I’m happy I have finally perfected it to my liking. You can always mess around with it to your liking. Sometimes I go with less fruit and just use bananas and raspberries.

 

 

Trip to Sydney

 


My sweet friend Brandi from Pittsburgh recently messaged me that her friend will be traveling alone to Sydney next month. How exciting!! We are all aware how traveling alone can be a bit scary. And a lot of us rely on the internet for information – from finding safe hostels, to how to save money, to where the best spots to visit are.

I first went to Sydney in December right before Christmas so the weather was gorgeous. Everything was decorated with Christmas stuff and loads of people were out shopping around. The second time I went to Sydney it was in February and the weather was still perfection. I learned a lot both times I have visited.

One thing I have learned is that all the hostels in Sydney are absolute shit. I didn’t have a good experience in two of the hostels there. One of the upsides to the shit hostels is the friendly backpackers you will meet but don’t expect a quiet sleep. I used Hostelworld.com to try to find affordable hostels. All the ratings and reviews were pretty ordinary. Lots of comments on how dirty and unkept the rooms and bathrooms were. I feel as though it is a hit or miss situation. Some people may not have the same opinion as others so my advice is to just search on what you are really looking for in a place. Read the reviews. On literally every review site about the hostel. You will thank yourself for taking the time out to do that. Ain’t nobody wants a case of the bedbugs. I’ve met people who have had them and they don’t sound pretty. They are parasites that hide or lay eggs close where humans sleep such as mattresses, bed frames, cracks in walls, and furniture.

How do you check for bed bugs beforehand? Well, from what I have learned from fellow backpackers is don’t put your bags onto your bed the second you get into the room. Check the mattress by lifting up and searching for a bug or blood spot from a previous bite. Check between the cracks of the bed frame and if it is a bunk, check above it especially in the corners for any eggs. You will genuinely know when you are bitten. I hear it’s unpleasant.


Moving on to something more pleasant, let’s talk about places to see. Besides the beautiful Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. There are loads of laid back places to spend time at. I spent a fair amount of time in Hyde Park. Hyde Park is the oldest public park in Australia right smack in the middle of the Sydney CBD. Conveniently by two major railway stations and shopping centres. It’s also within a 10 minute walk to some of the popular hostels. This park is so serene. You’ll find in the middle of the park, straight across from the St Mary’s Cathedral, a gorgeous centrepiece called Archibald Fountain. If you take the free walking tour of Sydney, you will learn the history about this beautiful fountain. The last time I was in Sydney, a man playing his acoustic guitar put on a little show for everyone in front of the fountain. It was so relaxing and nice. Along with the fountain, the park has well kept gardens and over 500 trees. It’s truly a must see for all tourists.
Back to more about the free walking tour. It’s seriously awesome even though it sounds boring. It’s free. Who doesn’t love free? They give two tours out of the day. One at 10:30 and one at 2:30. It goes on for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours and covers loads of places and Sydney information/history. You don’t have to sign up. You just meet at the town hall which is in the CBD area by the Queen Victoria Building which is another cool spot. Bring water and a snack, wear walking shoes, a hat, and sunscreen. Australia’s sun is harsh, man. Coming from a redhead with experience.


If you’re feeling a beach day, you have many options in Sydney and they are quite close. If you want to head over to Manly beach, hop on a 30 minute ferry! Heading to Bondi beach? Hop on a 45 minute bus ride! It’s all quite convenient and all from Circular Quay which is by the train station. You can purchase a smart card called the opal card at any 7/11 or railway station to use for the ferries, buses, and trains! It’s awesome and easy. There is no fee for the card itself but you will need to top it up with money and I believe the minimum is $10. One awesome thing about Sydney transit is that on Sundays there is a $2.50 cap. So if you want to head somewhere far like the Blue Mountains or one of the beaches…go on a Sunday. It’s crowded but it only costs $2.50 to go anywhere!!

Can I just put it out there that Bondi beach has free wifi…awesomeness. 

When it comes to saving money, I advise friends to cook!! You can head to a Coles or Aldi. They always have specials on food. And sometimes your hostel will have a free food box in the fridge or pantry. Eating at restaurants in Sydney is so expensive, so limit it but still have fun. My go to meal that is easy/healthy to make: Quinoa, tuna, avocado, feta – quinoa helps with weight loss and metabolic health. Tuna is a good source of Omega 3. And avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats.
Speaking of cheap, the Dendy movie theatre near the Opera house does cheap Tuesdays! We payed $13 for a movie ticket compared to $22. Good idea for a rainy day.


If you’re feeling adventurous and want to get away from the city crowd then the Blue Mountains tour is pretty sweet. It’s a bushwalking trail filled with steep cliffs and rainforests. I did a group tour for $75. That included transportation by a van there and back. Our tour guide was pure Aussie. He literally could have been Crocodile Dundee mixed with Jim Jeffries humour. I loved it. We sadly got rained out that day but it was still beautiful.

Hostels do a lot of pub crawls or events such as movie and game night. You will meet loads of people to go out with if you are traveling solo, so no worries. Just be open to opportunity with a smile on your face. It’s tough being in a new city along with a whole new country, but Australians are happy to help. 
Sydney is a great city. I really came to love it there because there is always something to do and you don’t have to have loads of money to do stuff. Accommodation is the main wallet drainer. Couchsurfing and Air bnb are other options if you aren’t feeling a hostel environment.

If you have any particular questions, feel free to comment below or email me at Alyssanicole51616@gmail.com

Enjoy!


5 myths about Australia 

 


                                             G’day mate!
Yep. Australians actually do say this. Just the other day, I was sat on the train into the city and heard a business man go up to an elderly man sat across from me and said “G’day mate, how’re you goin’?” After 10 months here I still get a dumb grin on my face. It’s too cool to hear. And if I didn’t sound like I was saying “meat” instead of “mate” in a thick American accent, I’d try to say it too.

People from back home ask me random questions about Australia all the time. So here is a short list of the common misconceptions about the land down under.

1. Everything in Australia will kill you.

It’s true that Oz has some crazy, dangerous insects and animals that will kill you but it’s all grossly exaggerated.

I’ve only seen a huntsman spider once. I’ve never encountered a venomous Redback spider that commonly resides in households (thank god). I’ve seen a dingo but only in the zoo. And I’ve only seen one big snake but we accidentally ran over it.

It’s not like the movie Jumanji where shit just pops out at you. In most cases, you would have to be out bushwalking to really come across these deadly things. So chill out, Americans. You’ll make it from the plane to the hotel safely.

Side note: I did see a monitor while hiking once and nearly shat myself. They’re extremely creepy but pretty sure harmless.

2. Fosters. I can’t stress this enough that Australians do not even drink this beer. IT’S AMERICAN. with a kangaroo slapped on the front. I haven’t even seen it in a bar.

3. Shrimp on the barbie. First off, they call shrimp, “prawns”. I’m the only weirdo that says shrimp here. And they don’t throw it on the barbie. Most likely you’ll find heaps of sausages and some kangaroo. Which is absolutely delicious and is claimed to be the healthiest red meat.

4. Everyone dresses like Crocodile Dundee.

I wish, but no. They dress normal unless you’re in the actual outback. I will point out that Aussie blokes in Qld wear the shortest shorts ever…I’m alright with that.

5. Kangaroos hop in the streets. Although there are quite a bit of kangaroos in Aus they don’t hop around most metropolitan areas. I have seen loads in Qld though.

Now that I have said all this, I’m sure I will step outside my door and get into a punching fight with a kangaroo.


(Don’t touch me, mate)