Bri’s Favorite Things 2018

It’s that time again! For the 5th year in a row I’m publishing Bri’s Favorite Things, which can also be used a Holiday Gift Guide for your friends and loved ones. (See also: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014).

Because it’s year FIVE, I’m going BIGGER and BETTER and offering you TONS of options, so…. BUCKLE UP!

BOOKS & WRITING

Becoming , Crazy Rich Asians, Make Your Bed, The Four Agreements, NotebookMildliner

TECH

AirPods, White Marble iPhone Case,*Tortoiseshell iPhone Case, HP Sprocket (case, paper), Marshall Bluetooth Speaker,*Popsocket, iPad Mini

BEAUTY

FARMACY Green Clean Makeup Meltaway, Benefit Brow Pencil, Travel Size CologneLipstickBloom Perfume

ACESSORIES

Double G Brooch,*Crystal Alphabet Charm, Supreme Backpack, Mini Pochette,*Gold Diamond Initial Necklace (Silver)

TV

Outlander (STARZ), Woman in White (PBS), The Crown (Netflix), Greenleaf (OWN)

CLOTHING & SHOES

Quarter-Zip Sharpa,*Houndstooth Tweed Jacket, Adidas Trefoil Tee,*Vogue Sweatshirt, Slippers, Rain Boots, Alabama Sweatshirt

Happy Shopping!

*items I do not own

 

Package Tracker

This time of year everyone is ordering lots of things online. More often times than not, your packages are delivered by multiple carriers: FedEx, UPS, DHL, USPS. How do you keep track of what is being delivered when?

Arrive is a service/app that makes answering that question super easy! Simply download the app (iOS only), grant access to your email account and that’s it. The service will automatically scan your emails, look for new shipment notifications and add the package, estimated delivery date AND a thumbnail of what you ordered (i.e. a picture of tennis shoes or earrings) in a seamless view. Every time you open the app, the status is refreshed.

Watch Arrive in action below.

Easy Photo Storage

 

 

 

 

 

Photo storage has never been easier (and free)! If you’re like me, you often get those annoying pop-ups on your iPhone that say your iCloud storage is full and to fix it you need to purchase more storage. Not so!

Google Photos is the answer that provides unlimited photo and video storage (all backed up in the cloud). All you need to do is download the Google Photos app to your device (iOS, Android) log into your Gmail account and let it do the work for you. Note: On your first login, all photos on your phone will be backed up, so this may take some time. Once done, every photo and video  will available online at: https://photos.google.com/. You can then delete everything from your phone and avoid those annoying messages/alerts.

With Google Photos, you can create albums, share them with others (via email, Facebook or Twitter), make a video or keep everything for your own personal viewing pleasure. Whether working from your cell phone, iPad or desktop, all your images will be fully accessible to you anytime, anywhere (and others if you so desire).

This tip has been added to Bri’s Commandments aka Tech 101.

You can also preserve old by photos scanning them (the high tech way) with Photo Scan (watch).

 

RWA Series – Bullet Journaling

Reading, writing, arithmetic. Three (3) fundamentals taught to every child in grade school and also things I like to call the basics of life. Today I’m starting a series on these fundamentals – with a twist of course – in which I will share tips on how we can use these simple concepts in our daily lives, to help us all be better at “adulting”.

Today’s topic, bullet journaling, is tied to the 2nd fundamental, writing. Here’s a brief history before we talk about the what and how:

  • Developed by Ryder Carroll, diagnosed with learning disabilities early in life.
  • Best described as a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system.
  • Designed to help you organize your what while you remain aware of your why.
  • Truly about: the art of intentional living.

In essence, bullet journaling is writing down what you need to do and getting organized. If you want to go deeper on the topic, you can read a book on bullet journaling, watch a TED talk about living intentionally,  view a YouTube video on how bullet journaling works from Ryder himself (highly recommended) or even see how others are setting up their bullet journals on Instagram/Pinterest (Some of these are seriously next level… I can’t draw so I just keep my bullet journal super basic).  There’s even a bullet journal app (iOS, Android)!

Not interested in all that? Ok! Let’s get right to the question of, “How do I get started?”

All you need is a notebook and a pen (or pencil). Any notebook will do! My suggestion? (because I’m super anal about good quality paper and pens) Get a notebook you love and a pen you like.

Start by creating a mental inventory (bulleted list). Simply write down all the things you need to do, the things you should be doing and the things you want to do.

For each thing you wrote down, ask yourself:

Why am I doing this thing? Does it matter? Is it a vital activity for me (pay taxes) or for someone else? How will this enhance my life?

This is where intentionality comes into the picture. If you determine the thing you wrote down doesn’t matter or that it isn’t vital, remove if from your list by scratching it off and move on to something else! When you complete a task, mark it as complete (by putting an x on the bullet next to the task).

OPTIONAL: Sure, you can get fancy and organize your tasks or to do items by month, week, monthly calendar, create themes (called collections in the bullet journal system – i.e. books to read, restaurants to try),  color code your tasks, assign due dates/priorities and even create an index (yes, like in a book where you number each page and have a quick reference on the first page of your notebook). You can decide if your bujo is just for your personal stuff or it if will also include work as well. This, in essence, is how to bullet journal. You can organize your bullet journal however you like or choose not to organize it at all. The choice is yours!

Notes about my system/approach

  1. I do not use daily views/logs/tasks. I personally think they are too cumbersome. I prefer to only use monthly and weekly views – this allows for flexibility.
  2. If there’s a task you assigned to today, this week or this month and you were not able to get to it for whatever reason (i.e. clean the baseboards), just simply move it to the next day/week/month by putting an -> (arrow) on the bullet. This is called migrating in the bullet journaling world.
  3. As you learn more about the system and which approach works best for you, know that you can change your format/setup at any time! This month’s spread/task list may look totally different than next months and that’s ok.

Keep your bullet journal with you at all times and review your bulleted lists/collections daily.

When something comes to mind that you want to do or explore, write it down immediately! This called reflection – you should constantly re-evaluate your to do lists and update them as needed.

2019 is almost upon us so get yourself a pen and a notebook and get started! Start by writing down your goals for the new year or figuring out what collections you want to include. At the end of the year, you will have something of a master piece.

Happy Bullet Journaling!

(be sure to watch the video below for a quick overview)

Must Have Tech Toys

I own a few tech “toys” that make life so much easier (and funner!). The best tech are those items you don’t really know you need until AFTER you purchase, try it out for a few weeks, then start wondering how you survived without ‘that thing’ for so long. Here are my top tech gadgets/items of 2018 so far – I use them all DAILY!

Apple AirPods – Yes, I know these have been out forever; but, I literally JUST purchased them last month and OMG I have NO IDEA what took me so long to buy in. They are GREAT and well worth the price tag. My personal macbook (gold), work laptop and iPhone all have different connectors for the headphone jacks and it became super annoying to be somewhere (coffee shop, work, mall) and not have the right cord with you. #problemsolved with Apple’s AirPods. They are Bluetooth and can connect easily to all of my devices! Added bonus? The super slim case is also a charger and you can wear one AirPod at a time to extend the listening/talking time. #winning Purchase here.

Burberry Technical Pouch – Speaking of cords … even though I don’t need headphone cables anymore, I still like to carry my iPhone / laptop charger with me, and occasionally my Apple Mouse (another wireless gadget that connects to both my work and personal laptop with ease!). Where’s a girl to store these items?? Enter the Burberry Technical Pouch. It’s nylon, super sheek and holds ALOT (business cards, laptop chargers, iPhone charger, cleaning wipes, etc.). I had been eyeing this piece for a few months and am glad I finally made the purchase.  Transferring these items between my work bag and my favorite tote for the weekend is now a breeze. This pouch is PERFECT for those busy gals (or guys) who are aways on the go!

Pop Socket and iPhone Case for Spring – Must have for texters, selfie takers, web surfers… basically anyone who is on their phone all the time. Everything it says on the packaging is absolutely true: 1) Never drop your phone, 2) Take better selfies and 3) Prop your phone. Purchase a variety of Pop Sockets here and check out the #popsocketmovement on Instagram. Also, I have been rocking a black iPhone case for some time. Why? Because black is my color! For the Spring, I decided to get a light, airy case for #noreasonatall. iPhone cases here.

If you watched the video above (recommended!) and think Pop Sockets are a joke, think again! Per Forbes:

Barnett started by selling PopSockets out of his garage back in 2014. Now it is being sold at Amazon, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart and a number of other stores. Barnett said that its sales went from 30,000 PopSockets in the U.S. in the first year to 35 million PopSockets across 40 countries last year. In the first year, revenue hit $240,000 and PopSockets grew 800% every year. This year, PopSockets is on track for manufacturing 70 million products. PopSockets started out with just one employee: Barnett himself. And now the company employs 120 people across Boulder, Colorado; San Francisco, California; Finland; and Singapore.

Enjoy!!!