Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Are You Ready for Galentine's Day?

 Hi Friends!

This week on the Podcast and Blog we will be discussing Galentine’s Day. I had heard of Galentine’s day in the past, but I had never known exactly where Galentine’s Day came from. I have always enjoyed celebrating Valentine's Day with whomever – friends, family, or co-workers. I was always single, so I liked to give out valentines; it kept my mind from wandering and worrying if I was going to get any or not that year. My mom and a close friend always send me a Valentine every year, but you know, sometimes Valentine’s day can be lonely for some. 

That's exactly why I love the idea of Galentine’s Day! What better way than to lift your female companions’ spirits up, let them know you appreciate them, and send love out into the universe. I think we often get wrapped up in the expectation that Valentine’s Day is only for romantic love. It can be so much more – love for your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and even yourself.

My mom and I were talking the other day and we were speculating on when Galentine’s Day started. She had mentioned that there was an online article in Good Housekeeping insert link here) about it. According to the magazine, the first known mention of Galentine's day was in the TV sitcom Parks and Rec. I have not seen that show, but it is on my to-do list. The article mentioned that the character took all her girlfriends out to brunch and showered them with gifts and lengthy love letters. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Prior to COVID and the lockdown, I was an Employee Engagement committee member for the company that I work for. One of my main responsibilities was to come up with fun, engaging activities for the employees that promoted team building and gratitude for each other. We especially loved Valentine’s day as we would decorate the break room with gigantic hearts, flowers and balloons, and people would wear pink and red. We would also have a competition, where each employee got a white or brown paper lunch sack. They had several days prior to decorate their sack. The committee would then go around and vote on the most creative for a prize. Employees also got the chance to go around to everyone’s desk and give out candies, Valentines cards, and little goodies. It was like being in school again. And seeing all the personalized notes from coworkers, professing their platonic love for you, just really sends you home for the day with a huge smile on your face. It also gave employees the chance to express gratitude for one another without feeling awkward or singling people out; it could be done with a cute note taped to a pencil or lollypop. 

Some of the cute bags that my co-workers made!

Unfortunately those days have passed. Now that the opportunities for me to bond with my co-workers have become more virtual, I have clung tighter to my inner circle of friends more than ever. That inner circle, my girl tribe, my besties, are the women who lift me up when I am down, and I would not be able to survive without them. So, this year we are going all out for my girlfriends this year. I have some handmade Galentine’s Day cards that I have made. I also have a little gift baggie to present to each of them. I enjoy putting together little party favor bags. I guess that’s something I missed from working in the office, too. Since we will be celebrating Galentine’s Day with our girlfriends by having brunch on the 13th, we won’t have the opportunity to decorate goodie bags. I am going to present a hand made bag for each of my gals. Each bag will be all cutsied up with hearts, paper doilies and glitter! I have not finished purchasing my contents for my bags, but I am thinking some fuzzy socks, a few pieces of candy, maybe a cute pencil and some girl power products will be great. I have about 10 bags that I want to make, so I have to keep my budget in mind. I also have  to prepare for Reyna’s school Valentines party. 

Regardless of the gift or the budget that you have, anyone can celebrate their gal pals. Sometimes a heartfelt note, a hug or your devoted time is what lets people know you care. Have you ever celebrated Galentine’s Day or something similar? Are you planning anything for the 13th? Has COVID changed the way you celebrate? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And even if you are not planning on celebrating with friends this year, don’t forget to love the person who needs it the most, yourself. 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

When a Bargain Isn't a Bargain...or Is It?

I hate shopping. I know…I’m a weirdo, but I just hate it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to “acquire” things, but the actual shopping part…not so much. I hate traffic. I hate crowds of rude people. And I especially hate going out of my way to buy something specific only to find the store doesn’t have what I want. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve had to go out in search of an outfit for a specific event or to buy a gadget to fulfill a certain function in my home, and then to traipse from store to store searching for the right thing. The one that fits. Or the one that’s the right color. Or made out of the right kind of material. And as often as not, I never find exactly what I’m looking for, but have to settle for something that “will do”. I just hate it.

That’s why I love online shopping. I can sit at home in the comfort of my pajamas and shop – any time of day, for any number of items, with as much or as little specificity as I care to explore. I can sit here for hours scrolling through Amazon search results looking for just the right notebook or craft supply. I can order two items, have them shipped to me for free (thank you, Amazon Prime!), and keep the one I want. The other is as easy to return as dropping by a UPS store with a pre-printed barcode (or scan it from your phone) provided by Amazon when you request the return.

I have become such a hermit since the onset of COVID. Between the worry about spreading the disease, the discomfort of the masks, and the sheer number of people who seem to be out and about during the daytime lately, I’d just rather stay home. I try to reserve my forays into the public for activities that truly interest me or tasks I simply must complete. I mentioned in our “Eating Healthy on a Budget” podcast that I subscribe to HelloFresh. When I’m working on a scrapbooking or creative project, I usually get my photo prints delivered by Amazon or Persnickety Prints. I’ve even changed many of my prescription drugs over to auto-delivery, and those that couldn’t, I’ve set up for 90-day refill cycles. If I can automate it – I do. If I can schedule it, I will. 

You would think all this home delivery would cost more, but really it doesn’t. Being willing to wait a few days, denying that instant gratification of going out to a store and acquiring it right now, often makes products and services less expensive. A retail store has to pay for retail space, which is often very expensive. The more products a store has to have on hand, the more space the store needs to display it, which also means more employees, not to mention the initial outlay of capital to have the product on hand in the first place. The exceptions to this are, of course, big box stores like Walmart, Costco, Sams, etc. who can buy in bulk, but even they are subject to the reality of having retail space and employees to display the merchandise, while online retailers sell right out of their warehouses, eliminating the middle-man of retail space, retail employees, and supply chains entirely.

I also like to shop from small business entrepreneurs – small mom-and-pop shops and sole-proprietors who offer unique items, sometimes at boutique prices. While it’s not strictly “inexpensive” (more often than not, it’s actually higher-priced), it is often exactly the item I’m looking for, and I like the idea that I’m helping support a person rather than a corporation. It’s an even better plus if the shop is local, but I’ll buy from online retailers, too. I like to support that individual creativity, and the quality of service you get from these businesses is worth every penny you pay for it - so really it IS a bargain. Etsy is a great online source for these types of creative endeavors, and another bonus is that I can both shop and sell there.

In the end, I think you have to be the judge of what a “bargain” means to you. After all, the New Oxford American Dictionary defines a bargain as “an agreement between two or more parties as to what each party will do for the other.” If you don’t mind spending your time and gas driving to multiple locations to get the best sale price, then that’s a good bargain for you. Or if you’d rather pay a little more to shop in private or to shop from specialty sellers, then that’s really a bargain, too. The price is only a small part of it.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Hocus Pocus or Bogus... You Decide

Hi everyone, Christen here. Earlier this week on the blog and yesterday on the podcast we discussed bargain shopping where we touched on common household items and quality vs price. I wanted to chat about something a little different today. I'm still discussing shopping, but I want to dive a little deeper.

I was at a holistic-wellness fair over the past weekend, which showcased many booths offering crystals, lotions, art, oracle cards, and jewelry. I noticed that many vendors are offering items made from resin too. Resin is a versatile material, it comes in a clear liquid state and can be poured into molds to create an innumerable amount of goods in varying shapes and colors. The neat thing about it is that you can put things in it, like glitter, color, charms, and even printed images. After many hours, the resin sets into a hard plastic. I have seen resin items cropping up in the metaphysical shops around town, too. Sometimes they are in the form of a “polished stone” but most of the items I have noticed were in a pyramid shape, typically two to three inches in height. I always wondered how and why those stores were “getting away” with selling resin and hoped that buyers were aware that they were paying for plastic-like material, albeit very beautiful. I hope that people are not buying them thinking they are actual stones or crystals! I wanted to know more about these pyramids I kept seeing everywhere! 

I will admit I almost bought one when I was at the fair; it really spoke to the sci-fi girl in me. The resin pyramid had a base of small crystals and suspended in the middle was a perfectly polished crystal or mineral, that looked like a planet hovering over a disc with a metallic or engraved Metatron's Cube. It was very beautiful, but I knew it was resin, and I did not know what the purpose was, so as I had done in the past, I moved on to look at other products. Later in the day though, I came to yet another booth with these pyramids for sale. This vendor actually took a moment to explain what it was! She asked if I had heard of Orgonite. I explained that I had seen the pyramids, but had no clue!
She informed me that Orgonite is a special substance of organic material (the resin is supposed to be organic) that is combined with metals and crystals. The combination creates a tower that “attracts negative energies”. So the curiosity in me has not put this subject down ever since. I wanted to know who coined the term “Orgonite”, and what the scientific evidence was behind it. Keep in mind, I took geology in college, and never heard of Orgonite, so I was already looking at this lady with one eyebrow raised in disbelief. I am a believer in many things that are unseen by the eye, but I am not a blind believer; I need more facts. My findings so far have been all over the place, so I will just bullet point it out rather than regurgitate word for word what I have researched so far.

  • Orgone is labeled as pseudoscience and fringe medicine and science (according to Wikipedia).
  • It is a term created by Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian Psychoanalysis from the 1930’s
  • Orgone is esoteric energy, life energy, spiritual energy; it can be more commonly called Chi/Qi, vibe, vibration, aura, light, or simply just energy, to name a few.
  • Wilhelm Reich created an Orgone Accumulator that was a large wooden box which had specific layers to it. The subject would sit inside and the energy around and within would (in theory) be transmuted.
  • Orgonite reportedly absorbs negative Orgone energy flow (DOR - Deadly Orgone Radiation) and transmutes it into POR (Positive Orgone) and releases it back into the atmosphere.
  • DOR is said to be harmful to your mind and body.
  • Resin is an electrical insulation material - remember I said it was versatile!
  • Resin is not plastic, although it is similar, it can actually be made from vegetable oils. Here is a cool site where you can get all your questions answered about resin. 
  • The resin pyramids are called Orgonite or Orgone Accumulators because they follow the same principle as Wilhelm Reich’s original Orgone Accumulator.
  • According to some, a proper Orgonite, or Orgone Accumulator will have a resin outer shell, a quartz stone, metal shavings and/or a metal coil. These parts aid the mechanics of the device.

So what did I learn? I learned a lot about resin, that's for sure, I legit thought it was plastic! I also learned that there is a whole subtopic within holistic health that I did not know was even there. Let's call it a can of worms that I opened, which I now cannot shut. I will continue my research into Orgonite, as I am intrigued. The more I read about the concept, the research that has been done, and the theories behind them, the more interested I am. I believe that there is a lot in our world that is yet to be seen, and although I am skeptical, I am also open to the possibilities. I believe in the human aura, and always have, and I am also a firm believer that what you believe in is your reality. So if you believe that the Orgonite pyramid is cleansing the energy around you, then by all means it must be. What’s to say that it isn’t, it is only considered pseudoscience now because no one has been able to actually provide strong evidence either way. We all know that trees convert carbon dioxide, even though we cannot see the process happening. I‘m not against owning an Orgonite pyramid now. Actually, I am more inclined to purchase one now that I have done some research. I mean, what’s the harm in trying it, right? I was actually just thinking that it would be nice to have one on my desk.

I keep the motto “Quality over Quantity” in my foremind when it comes to shopping for my altar or my homeopathic and holistic uses. The main reason is that unnatural substances are not as powerful, or do not have the same effect, and of course, I also appreciate the hand crafted aspect of things, especially when it comes to metaphysical products. I could go on about sourcing, ethics etc., but let's circle back to that another time. To ensure that you are buying something hand-crafted I encourage you to ask the vendors where they acquire their products and materials. Ask if their products are hand crafted, manufactured etc., and if they are handcrafted, who made them. Oftentimes, vendors at booth fairs fall into one of the two categories: artisans selling their hand crafted items, and stores, who are selling their stock of mass produced items and consignment all mixed together.

I might be over generalizing on many things, and if I glazed over something or misinterpreted the science, I apologize. This was a lot to wrap my mind around. If I mentioned something incorrectly, please let me know in the comments! I would love to know if you have used or own an Orgonite product and what you believe! Do you think it is Hocus Pocus or Bogus?

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Heard on the Podcast - January 26


Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we'll do every Wednesday to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

S2E5: Bargain Shopping

Monday, January 24, 2022

Why Pay Full Price?

Christmas is over and you guys are probably wondering why we are still talking about shopping. I say that it is never too early to plan ahead! Most people hate shopping, and I used to be one of them. My whole life, I have lived on a budget, and not always because I had to. When you grow up on a limited income, you have to sometimes appreciate the less expensive things in life. This has taught me to never pay full price for anything.

This shirt cost me $8 at Target

Last year, Texas had a huge snowstorm (that I called Snowvid) that brought record-breaking low temperatures and rolling blackouts. At the time, I lived in an old house that already had leaky pipes, which led to my landlord eventually having to replace the pipes in the house. Unbeknownst to me, the leaky piping ran through my closets, and when I discovered the problem, I had lost a good portion of my clothing, shoes, and accessories to mold problems. 

Aside from that, I have also lost a significant amount of weight over the last two years and my school was coming out of quarantine, so I could no longer teach in comfortable clothes. It seemed like everything was happening at once: mold, moving, and the start of the school year. How was I to get a manageable well-fitting wardrobe by the time school started? Impossible…that wasn’t going to happen. The only shoes I didn’t lose were the three pairs I never put in the closet because I wore them consistently throughout the week

How I replaced my decimated wardrobe without paying full price:

Seasonal/Holiday Sales: 

This one is pretty simple. Usually, at the end of the Summer or around every major holiday, stores will have some type of sale. At least twice a year, my favorite clothing stores have annual clearance events where they take extra percentages off clearance items. You just have to be smart and know when the “long weekend” holidays are, such as Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Memorial Day. These are prime examples of holidays that retail stores have extended weekend sales to celebrate. Mark your calendars and check out online fliers to your favorite stores to make a game plan.

Teacher Discounts and Back-to-School Sales

If you live in Texas you know about the famous tax-free weekend that happens every year in August so teachers and students can get discounts on back-to-school clothing. Basically, it is a weekend in August that Texans don’t have to pay state and local sales tax on their clothing (or school supplies). As a teacher, I make it my business to know which stores you can get an extra discount for flashing your teacher ID. We Are Teachers has a great blog highlighting some of the clothing stores where teachers can get discounts. Stores also offer senior discounts, credit card discounts, military discounts, first responder discounts, essential worker discounts, and student discounts.

Bargain Stores

I’m not talking about Goodwill® or the Salvation Army®. There are stores around where you can sometimes buy quality clothing without buying secondhand. The stores I am listing are stores where I can typically buy articles of clothing in my style for less than $20.

  • Ross Dress for Less®: This is my go-to place for work dresses. I can get clothing in my size for less than $20, and the clothing is name-brand quality. You can also buy shoes, accessories, and household items here.

  • TJ Maxx®: This is my go-to place for work pants on a budget. I was able to buy some last-minute back-to-school pants (that I didn’t need to hem) quickly and efficiently. I also like their sister store Home Goods® for home/office accessories.

  • Old Navy®: Why is this store on this list? I mean, they are a major retailer. Old Navy® is a major affordable retailer. They also have sales pretty much every day of the year. Their clothes might not be the highest quality, but you can create a fashionable ensemble for less at this store.

  • Target®: This store is a given. I can buy clothing that I can wear on a daily basis at Target®, plus affordable shoes and accessories. I also like to shop at this store for household items and seasonal supplies.

The Clearance Section

This dress cost me $12.95 on clearance at Torrid

For those that like designer shoes and accessories (me), the clearance section of a store always has good finds. I am okay with buying off-season clothing for a lower price, especially if it is a brand that I particularly like, such as Torrid and Betsey Johnson. Listed below are some of my favorite go-to sites and stores for designer purses on clearance.

Price Comparisons: 

When I talk about price comparisons, I am talking about shopping online versus shopping in-store. For example, the clearance section of Old Navy looks completely different online than it does if you walk into their store. Sometimes if you do a little research, you can find the same thing online for a better deal than you can in the store. A lot of retailers moved to online sales and curbside pick-up during the pandemic. So, stores will offer incentives to buy online and pick up curbside or have items shipped to the store for free. Listed below are stores that I only buy online because it is cheaper than buying in-store.

Playing the Long Game

When I say playing the long game with a store, I am talking about finding a store or two that you are committed to shopping at and only shopping at that store for certain things. For example, I buy most of my shoes at Shoe Carnival® and DSW® and I buy most of my clothing at Torrid®. Because of this, I am a VIP member at all of these stores. I signed up for accounts with the store, and over time, I have built up buying credits with these stores so I can get some deep discounts and coupons. These discounts and coupons afford me to get outfits for an extremely low price or free. By signing up with stores I love, I can also get emailed coupons, insider monthly sales, and birthday discounts. The only annoying aspect is that you have to sift through a million promotional emails a day, but it is worth it in the long-run. I save the most money doing this. I was able to replace my molded shoes in a matter of months this way.

Coupon Apps: 

I don’t always use coupon apps, but there are a lot out there. Check out Dave Ramsey’s 16 Best Coupon Apps of 2021 for a full list. I will list below the ones that I personally have used. You can get these apps for IOS and Android.

  • Ibotta®

  • Shopkick®

  • Target®

  • RetailMeNot®

  • GasBuddy

Paying Over Time

This isn’t technically a discount, but stores having layaway options aren’t really a new thing. When I was little, my mom would put Christmas presents on layaway and pay for them over a few months. In recent years, pay over time apps have become popular. This is another way I was able to replenish my wardrobe, accessories, and household items. My absolute favorite is Klarna, and I have also played the long game with this company. Through Klarna®, you not only get to pay off your purchase in four payments but you can also get discounts at many retail stores every month if you buy through their app.  If you make your payments on time every month, you also earn gift cards to shop with. You can also shop in-store with Klarna®. 

Gift cards I have earned from Klarna.

I have also listed below some other apps with pay-over-time options that I have used, and here is an article from Investopedia that lists even more options:

In conclusion, after reading my Grocery Shopping on a Budget blog, I obviously love to shop and I love to find the best deals. I hope that my tips are helpful to you in your future shopping endeavors. I’d love to hear from my readers about where they like to shop. I’d also love to help you get the best discounts on the next shopping trip that you take. Comment below with your favorite store and send me some suggestions if there is a store or app that I haven’t mentioned above that I need to check out. As always, let’s continue the conversation on our Facebook Group.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Fascinating Food Videos and Where to Find Them

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a foodie. I like to do what I call “experimental cooking”, and I am always looking for new ideas to experiment in the kitchen. The topic for this week on our podcast was relaxing YouTube videos and nothing relaxes me more than watching a good food video whether it is on YouTube or TikTok. I can scroll for hours watching videos and getting ideas.

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

Where do I find the best food videos? We live in a time where most social media is interconnected, so one video on YouTube can also sometimes be found on Facebook or even Snapchat. I probably watch most videos via Snapchat. You can also find some great videos scrolling on Facebook, Instagram Reels, or TikTok.

Favorite Video Channels:

  • ChefClub®: I like ChefClub because they make bold food videos and recreate classics. You can check out their YouTube channel here and their website here. Warning: their videos are not diet-friendly but that’s what fascinates me about them.

  • Tasty®: Everyone loves BuzzFeed®! Tasty® is an offshoot of the company that compiles comfort-food recipes and recipe videos. I have been a fan of these videos for years, and I have even bought one of their cookbooks as well as cookware sets with their logo. Tasty has cooking and baking products on the shelves now. You can find their videos here and their website here.

  • SoYummy®: SoYummy is another site that has simple and affordable meal videos that I like to watch. I like them because they make videos out of simple ingredients that most people have in their homes. They are very similar to Tasty®, and they also have their own cookbook on Amazon and Kindle. You can find their videos here and their website here.

  • MyCupcakeAddiction®: Another channel I have been following for years is MyCupcakeAddiction. I love to bake and I love watching baking videos as well as cooking videos. One of my favorite things to bake and experiment with is cupcakes. MyCupcakeAddiction has always been a baking inspiration to me. Elise Strachan of MyCupcakeAddiction also has her own cookbook and her own brand of earrings called EarCandy. You can check out her videos here and her website here.

  • AllDayIDreamAboutFood®: I have talked about Carolyn Ketchum before when I have talked about sugar-free and keto recipes. Of course, she would be another favorite of mine because I am on a journey to better myself through eating less sugar and gluten-free. I am a recent fan of her recipes and videos, but I cannot promote this woman enough. Go check out her videos here and her website here.

I could go all day raving about food videos because I simply love watching them and trying to recreate them. I want to know what your favorite food videos and recommendations are. Please comment below with suggestions. Also, go check out our Facebook Chat here and continue the conversation.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Can Relaxing Videos Really Be Relaxing?

I’ve been spending a lot of time
wasting time lately. I blame it on stress. Whenever I have a deadline, or I feel too much pressure, I just have to escape into something mindless and unproductive to let off steam. I always feel guilty about it, but I shouldn’t. After all, it’s a form of self-care, and self-care is not selfish.

Over the years, the things I do to “waste” time have changed. Coloring, doodling, crocheting, even finding solace in mundane household chores (have you ever scrubbed the grout on your shower or pulled weeds in your yard?) can be a soothing way to ignore (or procrastinate) less desirable or more stressful tasks. It’s a great way to let go of what’s going on in the outside world and be fully absorbed in something very simple. It can be a meditative process. 

In the age of the internet, those time-wasters have turned from more physical distractions into passive ones like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and other online entertainment. That’s what we’ve been talking about this week, and if you listened to the podcast yesterday, you heard us mention several different things that we watch or listen to. Obviously, we barely even touched on the many resources that are now available on the world wide web, but I can’t decide if the technology helps or makes things worse. Does our addiction to soothing videos make us need to self-soothe even more? 

I have been an avid reader my entire life. Before the internet, before cell phones with Google and Instagram, I had books. I kept a book handy and would read a page or two whenever I needed a break, and then maybe a few pages more before I turned in at night. Over the years, I’ve read less and less because Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have absorbed those brief moments, leaving only my bedtime ritual for my books. But lately, I haven’t even done much of that. Over the last several months, I have been far less engaged and, dare I say, downright DISINTERESTED in reading. When I settle in for my evening routine, it’s not my book I turn to, but my iPad or my phone. And then I spend an hour, two, or sometimes even more scrolling through my Instagram feed. Mindless. Pointless. Numb. And the more I scroll, the less I want to stop.

Last night was a great example. I was tired and had planned to turn in early, but a family situation kept me up very late, so when I finally went to bed, I was so tired I didn’t think I would comprehend much if I tried to read. So, I started scrolling through Instagram instead, knowing that soon I would be relaxed enough to fall asleep. Except I didn’t. An hour and a half later, when my husband, Mark, finally came to bed, I was still scrolling, and as he turned out the light on his side of the bed, I promised that I would shut everything down shortly. But I didn’t do that either. I just kept scrolling and scrolling until sometime quite a bit later, Mark tapped me on the shoulder to tell me I was asleep and snoring while I was still scrolling! Even then, I didn’t want to stop. I just had to get in a few more posts before I finally closed the app and rolled over to sleep.

So, what is it that makes social media so addictive? I can honestly say, I don’t know. I generally scroll right past 80% of the posts, even from the hashtags I follow, and I only very rarely stop and watch the whole video or read the entire post. And ever since Facebook took over Instagram, there are so many ads that they almost outnumber the real posts. Even so, there is something that makes me keep scrolling, anxious to see just one more post, one more reel. It really is an addiction, and I’m starting to believe it’s not all that relaxing, either. Maybe it’s time to go back to my books….

Tell us what you think. Are you addicted to social media? Do you find it relaxing or stressful? Do you have any favorites? Comment below, or join us on our Facebook group, MMC Chat.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Heard on the Podcast

Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we'll do every Wednesday to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Christen's Relaxing YouTube Recommendations

 Hello! I hope your New Year has started off with a bang! I feel like I have been ticking things off my to-do list left and right, how about you? Now that the holidays are over, many of us feel like we have to get back to our regime or complete neglected tasks that were shoved to the back burner…well at least that's the way I feel. At the moment, everything seems to be going at a good pace, but before I get too “in-over-my-head”, I like to remind myself to take it slow, and enjoy the hygge season. If I get too overloaded with tasks and stressful activities, I know I will end up crashing and burning. I think everyone can relate to some extent.

There are lots of different ways that people can relax, for example, you can meditate or get away by taking a walk, reading a book, or taking a hot bath. Sometimes I just like to sit in my recliner and watch a video on YouTube. I know that staring at my phone is going against the grain, as it seems that all signs point to putting the phone down and reconnecting with nature, but I don’t get sucked into social media much these days, so I think I’m doing okay. My daughter’s 9-year-old friend jokingly says, “Girl, I need to put the phone down and touch some grass,” because she is aware of her phone usage. 

We will be discussing more on the topic of our favorite sources for relaxation on the podcast tomorrow and I hope you join us, but until then, here's a little list of my treasures I have found on YouTube that I really enjoy.


If you don’t know what ASMR is, then you are in for a treat…or maybe you won't like it at all. The funny thing about ASMR is that it’s kind of like coffee, you either love it and can’t live without it, or you hate it. So what is ASMR anyway? It stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and to break that down into layman's, terms the sounds that you hear (or visuals) give you a little tingly feeling. These sounds are usually whispering, gentle tapping and crinkling. They are called triggers, which can calm some people but there are a small handful of people who have a severe adverse reaction to it. I can't tell you exactly when ASMR became a thing on YouTube but it's been around for a while and it seems that as time goes on the videos just get better and better. There are very basic videos where the host of the YouTube channel might have a video in which they manipulate a multitude of objects in order to make the sounds. There are even videos of the host reading or telling a story. The videos that hold my interest the longest are in-depth role-playing where scenes are acted out. 

My favorite to-this-date is linked below. Diane, over at Moonlight Cottage, takes ASMR to a whole new level. In each video, she has an entire themed set she has created, and she acts in character with scripting. The triggers are integrated throughout the video. Since Diana's from France, she has a lovely and calm French accent. I applaud her set designs as they are very charming down to every detail. You can tell that she pours her heart and soul into the design, props, and costume. 

Guided Meditation

If you have ever struggled to meditate then a guided meditation would be a great place to start. Guided meditation allows you to relax your mind but still stay focused enough on the act of meditating. There are many forms of guided meditation, some are simple breathing exercises and others more complex. Joe T - Hypnotic Labs is a channel on YouTube that provides videos with a detailed journey. There is a pretty picture on the video, but there is no actual video - you will want to close your eyes for these!

I have a hard time meditating if the speaker has a booming voice, or uses too much inflection. Joe T keeps his voice level and is in mid range so he is easy to hear, but not alarming. His guided meditations have just enough detail to keep me engaged, but calm enough that I can easily fall asleep if I allow it. To be honest, I usually fall asleep during his videos. 


Again not all of these videos have an actual video to watch. I like to put this one on in the background and just let myself hear the positive affirmations while I am working on other things, or when winding down for the night. Jason Stephenson creates videos that are long, but even if you only listen for a little bit at a time, you can get the benefit. This particular video is one that I find myself going back to again and again. The whole video is an ongoing stream of “I am” statements. 


There are a lot of YouTube music channels, some with videos and animation, and others with just a still image. And then there are performances! These two channels are wonderful performers. You can enjoy it with or without the video. Please keep in mind that anything that is labeled as a binaural beat etc, will require headphones, with left and right audio, for the effect to work properly. 

On this particular video, Healing Vibrations uses singing bowls, and other instruments to create a calm atmosphere. The singing bowls reverberate into your ears - wear headphones for the  3-dimensional experience. The bowls are lit by a blue hue and there are candles lit around the area.

She has the most angelic voice! If someone said they heard an angel sing, they must have heard Mei-lan. She has vocalization and lyrical songs. If you need some pepping up, just scroll through the comments, there are never any trolls or hateful comments, just people spreading pure love.

I hope you get a chance to check out some of the links I shared today! Let me know what you think! Did you enjoy the ASMR video or did you discover that you do not like it? What are your go-to relaxing videos on YouTube?

5 Ways to Manifest Your Best Life

Hi there, and welcome back! Since we have been heavily focusing on goals and planning, I thought we should discuss manifesting. I love this ...