LIFE

18 Things That Made 2018 Easier (Yearly Favorites Round-up)

Friends! Happy (almost) 2019!
This year has been a struggle, and I feel comfortable saying that only because I think a lot of people feel exactly the same way. 2018 had a lot of tough moments, but we made it. I made this list of yearly favorites for you guys to showcase some things I found that make life a little better and a little easier (and yes, I included lots of links to said products). Enjoy!

18 Things That Made 2018 Easier (Yearly Favorites Round-up)

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you!). Thanks for the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!

1. Blue Light-Blocking Glasses.

These are first on my yearly favorites list for a reason: they literally saved my eyes.
Blue light-blocking glasses help ease headaches and eye strain for anyone who looks at a computer screen or tv monitor for long periods of time. I’ve never felt that I needed them until now.

Onto the embarrassing story… I got shampoo in my eye. I’m a grown adult and can usually keep track of where my hands are at all times, but one night for some reason I smacked myself right in the eye with a big handful of shampoo. And since then, my eye has been a little blurry, I get headaches, and my eye is full of those stupid eye floaters and it started to really impair my vision. Not to mention the fact that between blogging, streaming, and editing videos, I’m on the computer all day every day.

I finally decided to try out blue-light blocking glasses to try and help ease my headaches and eye strain, and I KID YOU NOT, since the first time I put these glasses on, I have had ZERO eye floaters. Not a one. These are actual magic. I bought the TIJN ones in black, but I plan on buying them in pink and the leopard print too!

2. Bullet Journaling.

Bullet journaling is not a new thing. It’s not even a new thing for me. I’ve been hooked on The Happy Planner for a few years now, mainly because all the work is done for me and all I have to do is fill in the blanks. I’ve tried creating a bullet journal in the past but have never stuck with it, until I realized that I don’t need to have flawless pages. It sounds like “duh, Brittany, that’s the whole point of a bullet journal”, but for a perfectionist like myself it was a hard concept to grasp. I now realize that I can do it however I want, use whatever type of journal I want (currently using a lined 8.5″x11″ softcover journal because I love the lined pages and the large size), whatever type of pens I want, etc. AND I LOVE IT.

3. The One-Minute Rule.

I never thought this would make a difference, but BOY HOWDY was I wrong. The one-minute rule basically states that if something will take you a minute or less, just do it now instead of putting it off until later. Sounds simple, but I’ve felt so much more organized (and the house has been a lot cleaner!) since I started.

4. Essential Oil Diffuser.

I tried to fight it, but I finally became one of those people obsessed with my oil diffuser. I never wanted to get into essential oils, partly because it can be an incredibly expensive hobby and partly because I don’t really believe in the “healing properties”. But within 10 minutes of turning this thing on, our entire apartment smelled incredible and I’ve never looked back.

5. “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero.

Please don’t leave, I would usually be rolling my eyes too. A self-help book, really? But there’s something about this book that just really stuck with me. I’m a huge believer in the Law of Attraction, but there are a few little specifics that I still have trouble with (how can you ‘let go and forget’ your desires!?). This book is such an easy read, and it writes everything out so simply and explains the LOA so clearly. Honestly, I can’t put it down.

6. Getting a New Tiny Friend (AKA Putting an Aquarium in My Office).

Let me be a responsible pet owner and say something right off the bat: THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. You should never get a pet (even a fish) if you don’t have the time to take care of it.

Now with that said, I put an aquarium in my office and life hasn’t been the same since. I told my boyfriend that I wanted a new pet for Christmas (yes, I’m actually 5) and when we went to Petco, I let my eyes pass over the Betta fish display. I never let myself look at the Betta fish, because seeing them in the little cups makes me so sad. But for some reason I looked. There sat a cup marked “Baby Boy” with a tiny pink fish who was smaller than my pinkie nail (not an exaggeration). I had to have him, we bought him on the spot, brought him home, and put him in an old fishbowl until I could overnight a new tank for him (thanks, Amazon Prime!).

He’s got a super cute setup in my office now, and as I write this post I hear his filter humming away and every so often I’ll look over my shoulder to see him swimming around, and it brings me this sense of peace that I can’t quite explain. If you have the time (and the room!) for a fish tank, I highly recommend it.

18 Things That Made 2018 Easier (Yearly Favorites Round-up)

7. Daily Gratitude.

I have trouble with gratitude, not because I’m an unhappy person or because I don’t have anything to be thankful for. But I’m a natural pessimist who gets stressed very easily, so it’s hard for me to see the good sometimes. I’ve been trying to focus on all the good in my life throughout the day, and surprise surprise it’s helping. I know it seems painfully obvious but focusing on good rather than bad is easier said than done. Noticing all the tiny things that make me happy (a hummingbird outside, a text from a friend) as well as the big things (being healthy, having pets, the ability to blog for a living) has made me happier overall.

8. Letterboards.

Letterboards were a huge trend this year, and for good reason. I bought one from Target a few months ago and have so much fun customizing it every week or so. Currently it has lyrics from The Front Bottoms (my favorite band of all time), but it’s also had lines from New Girl and The Office, and “Subscribe to Pewdiepie”, because duh.

9. Yoga Every. Single. Day.

Out of everything on this list, this is the one that has single-handedly changed my life the most. I try to do yoga every single night, a 40 minute workout if I can. And if I don’t have the energy, at least a 15 minute stretch. There’s something about yoga that helps your mind as well as your body, and doing it every day just amplifies that.

10. Vega Protein Powder.

Are you noticing a trend here? This year I tried to really start taking better care of myself: figure out my macros, work out every day, drink enough water (but not too much, which I’m actually guilty of). When I figured out my macros, I realized that I’ve fallen into the cliche vegan trap: I’m not getting enough protein. I’ve never been a fan of protein powder, but now that I’m working out every day it seems necessary. The Chocolate & Greens from Vega is by far my favorite protein powder. It blends super well and doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth (which a lot of protein powders do). I usually make a breakfast shake with frozen bananas, cold coffee, ice, almond milk, and this protein powder and oh my god is it delicious. 10/10.

11. Deleting Old Social Media.

It’s always bothered me that my old social media accounts are just out there, hanging around, forever embarrassing me (I’m lookin’ at you, MySpace). So quite recently I decided to purge my old social media and yes, it took a lot of effort and a lot of digging through old notebooks to find passwords (or even worse, password clues). But now I feel so relieved, knowing that my angsty high school tweets are no longer out there for everyone to see.

12. Cravings (and Cravings 2).

Ahhh, Chrissy Teigen. Queen of Sass, Maker of Delicious Recipes. These cookbooks have gotten me through many nights of “I don’t know what I want to eat”. The Salty-Sweet Coconut Rice and the Hawaiian Roll Fish Sandwiches are two of my favorites.

13. The Realization That You Can Start at Any Point.

I think a lot of us wait for “the perfect moment” to try something new or take the first step, but I hate to break it to you, there will never be a perfect moment. You just have to do it. I’ve been waiting to decorate our apartment because I don’t like the layout, or the color of the walls, or the color of the carpet, etc. But I realized that this is where I am right now, and I won’t like the layout any more if I don’t decorate. So I started really decorating this place and WOW has it made a huge difference. Same with starting a second YouTube channel or posting more on this blog. Just start!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Chinese Proverb

14. Reusable Cups & Straws.

If you’re not using reusable cups and straws, what are you waiting for? DO IT. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT.

15. Reusable Grocery Bags.

While we’re on the subject of reusable things, reusable grocery bags are something that everyone should be using by now. DO IT. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT.

16. Endangered Species Chocolate Bars.

Not everything on this list is so dramatic or life-changing. These are my favorite chocolate bars, that’s all there is to it. Try the 70% Dark Cocoa, you won’t regret it.

17. Establishing a Small Morning Routine.

Every morning, I make a fancy coffee and some breakfast, go sit on the couch, and eat my breakfast while I watch an episode of Criminal Minds with my cat. Is this some life-changing revelation? No. But it’s a small act of self-care, and that’s what 2018 is all about.

18. Asking for Help.

Ugh, this makes me cringe just typing it out. I HATE asking for help. But this year has taught me that asking is ok.

My mom always said, “if you don’t ask, it’s an automatic no” (I think all moms say that?), and it’s true. I hate every second of it, but asking a simple question can make all the difference. When I finally asked people to share my stream and videos, my social media skyrocketed because of it (my number of viewers TRIPLED). I ask people to try my recipes and give feedback, and in turn I usually end up getting even more ideas. I ask restaurants if they’ll make me a vegan meal, and I always end up with a delicious (and filling) meal instead of just settling for a salad. Asking for help has always made me feel weak, until this year when I found strength in it.

What were some of your yearly favorites that made 2018 easier?

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