Go-To Tips: Goal Planning When You Just Aren’t Feeling Motivated

It happens: One week we are motivated and killing it at work, at home, and out in the world. The next week, it feels like we’ve been hit by a freight train and we are not motivated to get anything done. It’s a shame too … your to do list is sitting pretty, written in gold pen on top that hilarious Emily McDowell notepad you treated yourself to last year. But what happens when you are just struggling to check any of it off?

1. TAKE A BREAK

If you’re unmotivated because you’re burnt out, take a break before starting up again.  There are many things you can do when finding yourself in a slump that might recharge you: 

Take a little “you” time to regroup, recharge, and get going again. 

2. BE AMBITIOUS (BUT NOT TOO AMBITIOUS)

If you are finding yourself in a pattern of being overwhelmed, revamp your to-do list. Set actionable daily goals and stick to the list. If you get done early in the day, instead of moving on to tomorrow’s list, take the rest of the day off to prep, plan, and envision what you will be doing tomorrow. Be ambitious with your goals, but don’t be overly ambitious in trying to achieve those goals in one day. Make a list and plan on doing at least one thing a day that gets you to your goals. 

3. CELEBRATE SUCCESS

Celebrate the victories, both big and small. If you are moving forward, then you are succeeding. Its cliché, but progress is progress. If you stay positive about the execution of your goals, it’s easier to stay motivated. Sometimes just making this shift to a more positive outlook can make all the difference. 

Want more ideas? Read our article on Go To Tips: 8 Simple Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself.

Where to Go? What to Eat? Manhattan, NY

Manhattan is known for many things—theater, shopping, dining, sightseeing, you name it—making it a very popular spot for both visitors and residents. With everything New York City has to offer, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. Where should you go? What should you see? Where should you eat?

Sylvia Parker, owner of Magpie and a native New Yorker, has you covered! Sylvia’s shop—located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan—offers unique, beautiful, and practical gifts that are frequently handmade, organic, and locally made and designed. “We’ve been on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for six years,” says Sylvia. “We love our neighborhood for its mix of people, our proximity to two wonderful parks (Central and Riverside), the cultural richness, and old-time architecture.”

river and manhattan skyline

Where to Go?

American Museum of Natural History

Just a few blocks away from Magpie lies the American Museum of Natural History, a city landmark with world-famous exhibits. “I’ve always loved the old-fashioned dioramas and the giant blue whale suspended from the ceiling there,” Sylvia remarks. One of the largest museums in the world, the AMNH offers spectacles and exhibits for children and adults alike.

Central Park Rambles

A wooded area within Central Park, the Rambles are a restored area of the park that have been fitted with nature trails, gardens, and bird feeders. Located between 73rd and 78th streets, the Rambles offer a beautiful outdoor space full of both native and exotic plant species as well as views of a pond where visitors take out rowboats when the weather is nice.

Shakespeare Garden

Also in Central Park is the Shakespeare Garden, located near the Delacorte Theatre, the site of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series held in the summer. A less-frequented part of the park, this serene and picturesque part of the park is perfect for a relaxing stroll on its winding paths. Full of seasonal flowers, the garden is particularly lush in the spring and is a popular spot for outdoor weddings.

Museum Mile

A fifteen-minute walk across the park takes you to Museum Mile, which features one block after another of incredible museums including the Guggenheim, Cooper Hewitt, Frick, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “which I consider one of the best (if not the best) museums in the world,” Sylvia adds.

Riverside Park

With four miles of park, from 72nd to 158th street along the Hudson River, Riverside Park is frequently considered one of the best waterfront parks in Manhattan. With sunset views, a bike path, outdoor cafes in the summer, a skate park, and other sports courts and fields; this park is a must-see when visiting the city.

food and drinks

What to Eat?

Zabars and Fairway Market

Two longtime favorites, Zabar’s and Fairway Market are both famed for their selections of cheese, coffee, and foodstuffs from around the world.

Orwashers, Maison Kayser, and By the Way

“Orwashers and Maison Kayser have particularly delicious bread and pastries,” notes Sylvia. “I also like a bakery called By the Way that sells homey gluten-free and dairy-free cakes and cookies.”

Murray’s Sturgeon

Murray’s Sturgeon, a gourmet deli, sells everything from dried fruit to smoked fish and has “the sweetest counter service ever.”

Amelie Wine Bar

A French bistro that was recently cited by Michelin, Amelie has phenomenal brunch and dinner menus as well as a wine list that is updated daily.

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta are sister restaurants that both have terrific happy hour food. Pizzeria Sirenetta serves Neapolitan pizzas and rustic Italian fare while the Mermaid Inn is known for their seafood.

Jin Ramen

Another good spot for happy hour food, Jin Ramen offers delicious Japanese food and—of course—multiple kinds of ramen to choose from.

Shake Shack

The second Shake Shack to have ever opened its doors, this Upper West Side staple is popular among tourists, residents, and folks who work in the neighborhood. “There is always a long line outside for the burgers at Shake Shack.”

Amorino and Van Leeuwen

It’s also a good neighborhood for ice cream lovers,” Sylvia notes. “Amorino sells Italian-based gelato, while Van Leeuwen is local and features vegan ice cream in its shop.”

Go-To Tips: Surviving the Holidays

The winter holidays are a fun and festive time of the year, but they can come with their fair share of stress and headaches too. Instead of letting yourself get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, these tips can help you relax, be present, and enjoy the time with friends and family.

holiday self care with tea

Tips to Help You Stay Merry and Bright

  1. You may have plenty on your to-do list this holiday season, but you better make sleep a priority too! Without adequate sleep, your stress levels are likely to go up and you may wind up not getting to fully enjoy the holidays. Sleep deprivation can cause or contribute to fatigue, overeating, forgetfulness, and other ailments you probably don’t want coming with you to your holiday party.
  2. If the idea of being around certain coworkers at your office holiday party makes you want to tear your hair out, or you’d rather be alone than be around a certain few family members, gently remind yourself that it’s only for a short amount of time if these get togethers are unavoidable. It’s not ideal to spend your free time during the holidays around people who cause you stress, but you are in control of how you react to the situations around you. Take a deep breath, enjoy the parts of the festivities that you can, and remind yourself that it’s just one time a year.
  3. If you’re dreading going to a holiday function alone, bring a friend or significant other! Having company that you can turn to for stress relief, comic relief, or just to roll your eyes at when your uncle says that dumb joke for the 30th time can mean the difference between getting to relax and staying wound up all throughout dinner. If you can’t bring anyone, bring some entertainment (a book, for instance) so you can enjoy some quiet solo time.
  4. Don’t forget to make time for self care! While the holidays are a time to think of others and spend time with them, it’s important to remember to consider your own needs as well. Even if that means taking a break from holiday shopping to enjoy a hot cup of tea in a relaxing bath, watching an episode of your favorite TV show in your softest and fuzziest slippers, or making a batch of decadent cookies just for you; make time for yourself this season so you can be your best self when it comes time to celebrate with other

Go-To Tips: Fall Activities and Treats

October is a great month for getting ready for watching the leaves change, wearing your coziest and softest flannels, and snacking on many delicious treats. October is also a particularly good time to getting your home and body prepared for the upcoming winter. Here are some of our favorite seasonal activities and treats (snackable and otherwise) to enjoy and share with others.

Fall Pumpkin

Apple Picking: It wouldn’t be fall without apple picking! Whether you enjoy eating apples raw or using them to bake apple pies or make caramel apples, apple picking is a great activity for the whole family. Some apple orchards even offer tasty treats on-site to keep you fueled, like apple cider and pastries. So grab your friends, Google your nearest apple orchard, and spend some time outdoors in the crisp autumn air.

Chai Tea Room + Body Spray: Chai is one of those scents that elicits the warm, spicy, and subtly sweet smells of autumn. This chai tea spray is a perfectly complementary combination of smells to not only help your home smell like a comforting and seasonal space, but can also help freshen YOU up! Safe for linens, the body, your car, and more; feel free to be generous with this Etta + Billie product to make your home fall ready.

Cheese and Pretzel Broomsticks: These fun little snacks are great for kids and adults at parties. No cooking required; just get some thin pretzel sticks, string cheese, a knife, and some chives (optional) for garnish. Just be sure to snap a photo of your creative snack plate before they’re all gobbled up!

Boozy Apple Cider: A signature cocktail is a must at any gathering. This drink is a great option since it can be used for all autumn-themed parties and can even be made without alcohol for kids. Served in seasonally appropriate carved-out apples, sweetened with a hint of caramel, and spiked with cinnamon-flavored Fireball Whiskey; this cocktail will wow all your party guests.

Corn Maze and Pumpkin Picking: Getting lost in a corn maze can be a fun activities for kids of all ages, however, some places offer Halloween or horror-themed mazes for adults too. A perfect excuse to run around in the outdoors and burn off some energy, corn mazes can keep kids entertained for hours. Many farms also offer pumpkin picking, so you can head home ready to carve pumpkins, make pumpkin pie, or roast pumpkin seeds.

Ginger Orange Lip Balm + Salve: Nothing is worse than having dry, itchy skin once the weather starts getting colder. Help keep your skin moisturized with this revitalizing ginger orange lip balm and salve instead! The ginger is both calming and refreshing, the orange lends hints of uplifting citrus, and the nourishing oils and cocoa butter keep your skin conditioned and soothed all year round.

Etta + Billie Ginger Orange Lip Balm + Salve

Go-To Tips: Shopping Your Local Farmer’s Market

Your local farmer’s market can be a great spot to buy inexpensive and fresh produce, support your local farmers, and even try some tasty pre-made foods or purchase quirky handmade items. With these tips, you can be sure you get the most out of your visit and walk away with an armful of delicious foods!

farmer's market peaches

5 Tips for Shopping Your Local Farmer’s Market

Bring cash. Some vendors accept debit cards, credit cards, and checks; you will likely run into many vendors that are cash only. The best way to ensure you are able to purchase everything you need (and stick within a budget!) is by bringing cash with you. If you are trying not to overspend but still want to be able to treat yourself to a beautiful handmade necklace that may catch your eye at the market, or if a vendor is offering a great deal on berries at a larger quantity and you’d like to be able to grab some for your friends, set aside some extra cash in addition to your produce funds

Select your time wisely. If you want to freshest, healthiest produce and don’t want to risk missing out on items that sell out before you arrive, your best bet is to arrive as soon as the market opens. On the other hand, if you’d like to scope out some deals and discounts, you might want to consider showing up about an hour before the market is due to close. The vendors will be more likely to bargain since they are seeking to get rid of their items so they don’t have to haul them back home.

Buy in season. Your farmer’s market won’t have the same selection that your grocery store has since grocery stores have produce shipped to them from all over the world, but your farmer’s market will have the best tasting in-season organic foods! And knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season can help you grab the freshest produce and the best deals. Berries, are plentiful in May while corn tends to be sold more in August. Peaches and apples, on the other hand, you’ll see more of in September. Herbs can be easier to buy since they stay in season longer. Rosemary, for instance, is in season in both summer and fall (or year round in temperate climates.) For a full list of when fruits and vegetables are in season, visit the US Department of Agriculture’s “What’s in Season?” guide.

Make a loop around the market before buying anything. You want to avoid buying the first few things you see because another vendor down the line may wind up having better deals on that same item, or worse, you’ll spend all your money and then come across something you wish you has some cash for! To avoid these pitfalls, walk a loop around the entire farmer’s market before purchasing anything and take mental notes of which booths you want to return to. After you’ve seen everything the vendors have to offer, you can make better purchasing decisions and head straight home with your goods, without having to lug them around to continue browsing the market.

Try new things! Farmer’s markets often have samples of their homemade food items, and it’s worth trying as many as you can. You never know if you might wind up falling in love with a local farmer’s sweet horseradish pickles, or if the jalapeno jam will become the next staple item on your breakfast table. If you get thirsty, try a cup of the ice cold lavender lemonade or the locally grown coffee to add some pep in your step for the rest of your farmer market adventure.

farmer's market lettuce spinach salad greens

Farmer’s markets can be a great experience and an opportunity to support your local agriculture. In no time, heading to your local grocery store will have you missing your farmer’s market!

Go-To Tips: How to Travel With Only a Carry-On Bag

How to Travel With Only a Carry-On Bag

Whether you’re traveling for business or vacation, airports and flying can be quite a process. Even seasoned travel veterans go to lengths to avoid any extra headaches when dealing with airports. One of the easiest ways to keep your air travel hassle-free is to downsize and fly with just one carry-on bag rather than checking your luggage. Sounds impossible? We’ve got your back with these travel tips.

Pack layers and outfits that can be mixed-and-matched. For your clothing, you’ll want to pack as few items as possible, but you also don’t want to be stuck wearing the same things every day. The easiest way to accomplish this is to pack a few basics with many layers that can be mixed-and-matched. For example, bring a pair of stylish sneakers that will be comfortable to walk around in all day but can also be worn with a sundress for a cute and comfortable daytime look. Or, pack a pair of black denim jeans that can be dressed up with heels for a night out or dressed down for a casual afternoon brunch. Include short- and long-sleeved tops that you can easily throw a flowy sweater over if it gets colder. You can also avoid packing extra (read: unnecessary) “just in case” items by checking the weather of where you will be traveling to ahead of time. Rain in the forecast? Throw a lightweight raincoat in your bag that can be worn over any outfit.

Plan on doing laundry. Though doing a load of laundry while on a business trip or vacation doesn’t sound fun, it can save you from ever having to pack “extra” clothes. If you’ll be traveling for 2 weeks, for example, and you do laundry once during your trip, you will only need to pack 1 week’s worth of clothing. Many larger hotels offer (or can suggest nearby) laundry services. If you are staying at an AirBnB or VRBO, look for one with a washer and dryer in the house or apartment. Staying with friends? Ask to do your laundry in their house or building, or seek recommendations for a nearby laundromat or dry cleaner.

Pack multi-purpose beauty products. By bringing products that can be used for multiple things, you can reduce the number of items you have to try and pack! For example, instead of packing individual bottles for your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, consider buying a travel-sized product that can do all three! Or, bring a bath and body oil that can be used as a facial moisturizer, body lotion, and leave-in hair treatment. (Don’t forget to pack all toiletries in transparent bags and limit any liquid soaps or gels you are taking with you to under 3.4 ounces/100ml.)

Purchase what you need once you arrive at your destination. You may also want to consider waiting until you arrive at your destination to pick up smaller items rather than trying to pack them. If you’ll be flying to a tropical paradise, wait until you arrive to pick up your sunscreen. You can also easily find many beauty products at local drugstores, supermarkets, and pharmacies. Additionally, most hotels provide basic products for you such as soap, shampoo, and lotion. If you are renting an AirBnb or VBRO, consider calling ahead and asking your host if they keep your favorite item stocked.

Saving money is only one of the advantages to traveling light and not having to check a bag. You’ll never have to worry about the nightmare that is losing your luggage, nor will you have to waste time waiting at a baggage carousel after spending hours on an airplane!

Go-To Tips: Getting S#@t Done – Tips for Accomplishing Your Goals

Tips for Accomplishing Your Goals

Before E+B, I rarely made yearly goals. It just wasn’t my thing. I always thought things would just work out, or I’d focus on short-term goals (perhaps that’s because they are much much easier to accomplish…). But as my business grew, I realized that there was no possible way to keep moving forward without creating goals, both personally and professionally. So in 2010, I created my first goal list. I sadly can’t remember much about what was on that list (I’ve definitely purged a lot over the last 8 years in business which is good because I’m a notoriously sentimental pack-rat) but I do know that my goal creation process has changed dramatically thanks to fellow business owners and a better understanding of what works for me. So if you’re like me and not a goal creator OR just looking at a new way to accomplish your goals, check out my tips for checking those goals off your list.

HOW TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOALS THIS YEAR:

Brainstorm + Review. Every January, I take a day or so to review the previous year. What went well? What didn’t go well? I meditate on what I want to accomplish in the coming year. What is the overarching theme for the year? Some years it could be Balance, or Travel, or Financial. Think about what would bring me the most joy this year. And write it all down. I find this whole process incredibly helpful. Don’t know where to start? Check this out this process or some great questions to prompt yourself with here.

Refine it. Keep that list small. After the brainstorming, my list probably has about 1,000 things on it, but I know that having that many goals is incredibly overwhelming and likely will turn into a situation where I just don’t bother with goals at all (not helpful). I go through and think about what that overarching theme is and what is a priority based on that and what would be nice but can wait. If I accomplish some of the priority goals, then I can always go back to my list and start on some of the other goals.Photo Sep 26, 9 54 40 AM

Focus + Plan. Ever heard of the Passion Planner?! Well, it’s been one of my favorite tools to help accomplish goals and stay on track for the year. There’s a wonderful brainstorming section in the beginning that’s great for step 1 or if you have no idea where to even start! I use the planner to write down all my major goals and use it to break them up into manageable pieces with deadlines. I’ve used my google calendar in the past but there is something about having things physically written down that helps me stay with my goals.

I hope these tips will help you accomplish whatever you’re striving for this year!

Got other tips for checking those goals off the list? Please share, I’d love to hear them!

My Go-To: Top 5 Summer Skincare Tips

Beach-Sun-Skin

Here are my top 5 skin tips to keep you and your skin happy and healthy this summer. Read on and get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Top 5 Summer Skincare Tips

  1. Slather on the sunscreen. Apply at least 30 minutes prior to major sun exposure and re-apply every 2 hours or so. I like this brand of natural sunscreen. For your face, use mineral makeup with an SPF or check out this tinted moisturizer.
  2.  Double up the skin protection when heading for the beach, lake or park. Wear a hat and a cover-up. Think about sporting one of these cute printed rash guards (SPF 50).Summer Style
  3. Limit sun exposure. Especially between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm when UV rays are most intense. I know, it’s hard when there are so many fun things to do outside in the summer but it is the most effective method to protect skin.Shady Palapa Mexico
  4. Hydrate! Be sure to drink plenty of water. Not a huge fan of plain water? Add a few slices of cucumber, melon or sprigs of mint for subtle yet delicious flavor.Hydrating Herbal Water
  5. Exfoliate. All that sun, sand and fun takes a toll on your skin. Use a gentle exfoliant for facial skin, like finely ground oatmeal mixed with yogurt or honey, and one of our hydrating sea salt scrubs on your body to keep skin healthy.